April 19, 2018

Kipp Brothers Products Ordered for OCC Review-December 2017

This will be my second post I've written reviewing items from Kipp Brothers that one could send in a shoebox.  I'm not affiliated with them, this is just things I ordered for my own shoebox packing, and just thought I'd share reviews of what I purchased so others could have an idea what might be useful to them.  This is for an order I did the end of 2017

First, since I re-ordered the jumping frogs, turtles, and wooden yo-yos from last year's Kipp Review.   The turtles were especially popular when we were packing, and we made a lot of game sets with the frogs and the printable frog game I made.

I ordered the Metal Jacks With Two Balls - 12 for $10.95.  These are small, but sturdy, and sometimes for shoeboxes, I think smaller can be better! (You can read my post on shoebox item sizes here).  And, if you wanted, you could even split it into two games-each with a ball and 8 jacks.  Will probably order these again if I need games.

Jump Ropes - 12 for $6.95.  They were bright and colorful, but seemed a little light weight and short-I'll send them in the 5-9 boxes, but probably won't order again.

Children's Scissors-12 for $3.99.  I was actually pleasantly surprised by these!  No, they're not super nice, name brand scissors, but they cut paper well (but not fabric), and look like they'd hold up okay.  I would buy again if I couldn't get a decent deal on nicer ones.

Mini Prism Kaleidoscopes - 48 for $9.95.  I was very happy with these.  They seem sturdy enough, and they're probably some of the best design view I've seen in these small ones-I tried to take photos to show.  I've seen a few different brands of these, and these are certainly my favorite and I'll probably buy more for next year.

Bright Dino Assortment - 144 for $20.95.  I was pleased with these-they didn't all stand up perfectly, but overall very happy with them, and will probably order again.  They're small-only a 2-3 inches long, so one is not a wow item or anything, but fun little extra-or a few for a play set.

Wild Animal Assortment - 48 for $9.95.  These are super cute!!  Like the Dinos they may not all stand up on a table real well, and are on the small side-just a couple inches, but totally a fun item to add!  I'm guessing these will be a repeat purchase.

Bright Plastic Animal Assortment - 144 for 8.95.  These are smaller than the above-only an inch tall and I wasn't too excited about them.  There were a couple designs I wasn't fond of, and a few that had didn't come out right.  Not bad for the price or anything, but in the future I'll probably spend more for the Wild Animal assortment, even if that means each box only gets 1 instead of 2 or 3.

Penguin Playing Cards - 12 sets for $3.99.  I bought these because I pack penguin themed shoeboxes, and for that they will work well.  They're not super nice cards-they're what you'd expect from say a dollar store.  They're a little thin, and not sure how well they'll hold up for too long.  As a bonus item, they're fine, but I wouldn't send as the main toy.

Mini Pinball Games -     This is the one thing I'm going to advise just to not buy for shoeboxes.  They're not very sturdy and I'm not sure how long they'll hold up.  Also, if you pull the launcher back too far the BB can get out.  Since I have them, I'll probably send them in the oldest age group since they can probably play with them for a while, but I don't think they're nice enough to buy again for shoeboxes.   Maybe they'd be fine for a carnival prize in the USA or something where the kid isn't going to keep it long, anyhow...

So, there's the reviews of the items from my most recent Kipp Brothers order.  If you're going to put in an order-be sure to check out Shoebox Shopper's Facebook Page-I think she has a discount code.  If you'd like to read reviews of more items you can purchase for shoeboxes check out all my review posts!

April 14, 2018

OCC Shoebox Stockpile Saturday ~ 4/14/2018 ~ Donations and Deals

We were blessed to get a couple large boxes of donations from Sew Delightful.    So many fun and useful items with which to fill up shoeboxes.  Beautiful sewn dresses!

Someone also had some pens they had bought for an event, but seemed unused:  checked them all and they worked great, and we could see they still had LOTS of ink in them.

I also had great success at Bargain Hunt-they had 50% off lowest marked price office supplies-got 10 packs of pencils for $0.19 & cute cases with 10 colored pencils & sharpener for $0.25...plus a few other fun supplies!

I was glad to find this nice, car themed notebook.  I'm planning a box in memory of my uncle who died last month and he liked cars!  Also a couple cute little dinosaur 3D puzzles. 

At CVS I was able to get a good deal on Irish Spring-after coupons and ECBs it worked out to less than 17 cents a bar. I'm excited because they're nice, big bars, plus are colorful and have a nice scent-almost makes the soap a "Wow" item-LOL!  Plus a little board book 50% off with Easter stuff.

Never shared a couple weeks ago that we got a few of the Dollar General BOGO cars and gloves 70% off.

Spent from shoebox packing budget: $56.05  
Saved $234.03 or 79%

Saved through "Bargain Hunting":  $208.19
Saved thru clearance:  $2.84
Saved through BOGO deals: $13
Saved through CVS deals: $10

...plus even more value for shoebox packing with donations!

April 9, 2018

"Tool Belt" Operation Christmas Child Shoebox for a Boy 10-14 Years Old

One thing we've started including in shoeboxes for 10-14 year old boys through Operation Christmas Child is tools.  Normally just like a bundle of para-cord, a pair of pliers, or screwdrivers with a few mixed screws and bolts.   But I had this belt donated -it was actually a waiter's apron, but I thought it would work great as a tool belt, and I decided I wanted to add in a few more tools.  For instance some nice work/safety sunglasses I found, graph paper and squares, tweezers for splinters, etc.

I thought I would be fun to pack the belt/apron in the box with tools, etc. in it, but when I did it it nearly filled it up.

I didn't want to leave out anything on our basic packing list-still put in hygiene, school, and art supplies, clothing, whistle, etc as well as toys (including a ball and stuffed animal) with a family photo. 

So, I decided to "unpack" the belt, and it fit MUCH better!  I was able to get all of the above items in, as well!  I tried to protect the sunglasses. 

For more ideas/fun boxes, check out other shoeboxes we packed for 10-14 Boys!

April 3, 2018

The Right Way to Pack Operation Christmas Child Shoeboxes

So, there's a lot of opinions on the internet of the "right" or "correct" way to pack Operation Christmas Child Shoeboxes.  Sometimes it can be overwhelming-it seems like almost every item is being argued for and against, restrictions on exactly what form of that item you should send, and the list of "needed" things and super important sometimes seems so long you couldn't fit it in a suitcase let alone a shoebox!!  

Well, if you are in the USA I'm here to simplify it for you, straight from official OCC website (as of April 2018):
  • "Start with an average-size cardboard or plastic shoebox. If you want to wrap it, cover the box and lid separately...
  • Decide whether you will pack a box for a girl or a boy, and the age category: 2–4, 5–9, or 10–14...
  • Select a medium to large “wow” item such as a soccer ball with pump or stuffed animal...
  • Fill with other fun toys, hygiene items, and school supplies...
  • Pray for the child who will receive your gift... 
  • You can also include a personal note and photo...
  • Label and... include $9 donation per shoebox...
  • Take your shoebox gift to a local drop-off location during National Collection Week." (https://www.samaritanspurse.org/operation-christmas-child/pack-a-shoe-box/)  
  • Make sure you don't send "Candy; toothpaste; gum; used or damaged items; war-related items such as toy guns, knives, or military figures; chocolate or food; seeds; fruit rolls or other fruit snacks; drink mixes (powdered or liquid); liquids or lotions; medications or vitamins; breakable items such as snow globes or glass containers; aerosol cans." (From OCC)
That's it!  If you follow those simple instructions, you're doing it right!  Don't worry about other things you read on the internet, you are doing it right!!!

Relax, pray about what to send, and enjoy it!! Don't get me wrong, I love to read distribution stories, item reviews, look at packed OCC shoeboxes, get ideas how to fit more in the shoeboxes, etc. to get ideas of what I feel would be "best", but this is not right/wrong.  The only wrong thing is to go against OCC's official regulations (or if you feel led to send something specific within those regulations), as long as you're following that, you're good!  Now, if you'd like to know a little more info/ideas about what OCC thinks about what to pack in their boxes, they do have a little more ideas to share. 

First, they have a rather extensive ideas list for each age/gender group you can click through and get plenty of ideas.  

Another way to get ideas is to look at what they put in the shoeboxes you can pack online and see what it puts in.  For instance, I-for research purposes-went through the steps (but didn't check out) to "pack" a box for a 10-14 boy.  It would have Toothbrush, Comb, Pencils, Pencil Sharpener, Crayons, Coloring Pad, Notebook, Pens, Colored Pencils; Wow item (ball, toy car, soccar ball and pump, or baseball and glove); 2 of the following small toys (harmonica, Frisbee, wooden train whistle, Etch-a-sketch, Yo-yo, mini car, ball, whistle, or recorder flute);  and 3 accessories (flashlight, flip-flops, rubber band bracelets, watch, socks, shirt, calculator, or sunglasses).

If you follow the year-round packing idea list from OCC, this is what your box would have in it: 
   January --  Hats, Gloves and/or Scarves            July --  Clothing
    February --  Accessories       August --  School Supplies    
    March --  Quality Crafts       September --  Games
    April --  Stuffed Animals       October --  Letter & Photo   
    May --  Hygiene Items       November --  $9 Donation   
    June --  Toys    December --  Prayer

But remember, the only right/wrong part of packing is in bold above-that is the only requirements/official guidance.  EVERYTHING else is ideas, and ideas ONLY!! 

March 24, 2018

OCC Shoebox Stockpile Saturday ~ 3/24/2018 ~ School supplies and fun stuff

I got a few things for shoeboxes this week.
We had some Rewards from Office Depot, so I scoped out their clearance.  I was especially excited about the nice car.  As I mentioned on my Facebook page, one of my uncles went home to heaven recently and he liked cars, so I decieded to make a box themed around things he liked, I found I already had a stuffed bulldog to add to it since he liked bulldogs.

Also stocked up on some nice scissors at Mighty Dollar.  Also a few cute other goodies.

Spent from shoebox packing budget: $22.41 

Spent from Office Depot Rewards: $5.92

Saved $86.44  or   80%

Saved thru clearance:  $11.44 
Saved thru Mighty Dollar discounted prices: $75   

March 17, 2018

OCC Shoebox Stockpile Saturday ~ 3/17/2018 ~ Nearly 90% Saved

I had some pretty good success shopping for Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes this week.  At Bargain Hunt I found a lot of already discounted items with dates that made them an additional 90% off!  I don't think I paid more than $0.60 for anything in this photo.

Mighty Dollar also had some good deals, some fishing floats, and lots of scissor two packs-normally near $5 at Office Depot-for $1.

Spent from shoebox packing budget: $40.25 
Saved $332.43  or   89%

Saved shopping at Mighty Dollar over Office Depot:  $97.10
Saved through Bargain Hunt prices: $114
Saved through watching Bargain Hunt Dates: $121.33

Added to packing stockpile:

  • 11 Stuffed animals
  • 1 Doll
  • 80+ Bandanas
  • 44 Scissors
  • 20 Fishing Floats

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